Grown-ups Aren’t Letting Black Girls Be Kids, And It’s Harming Them

Adults view black girls as more adult-like and less innocent than white girls.

Racism doesn’t have to be hateful or violent to be incredibly harmful— especially when it comes to children.

Everyday differential treatment and implicit biases toward people of colour can have devastating consequences, too. And new research shows just how widespread one of these harmful biases toward children actually is.

Black girls “routinely experience” adultification bias, where they are seen as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls, according to a U.S. study out of Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality. This is linked to harsher treatment and higher standards in schools, black girls being treated with less empathy, and authorities acting in “developmentally inappropriate ways,” the study notes.

WATCH: Black kids are treated as more adult than white kids. Story continues below.

The findings aren’t at all surprising to Kisha McPherson, a social science and humanities professor at Centennial College and PhD Candidate in Education at York University. McPherson, who researches the experiences of black girls in the education system, recently interviewed high school teens in the Toronto area.

She found that black girls in her study were automatically burdened with having to “know better,” or needing to deal with harsh consequences to their behaviour because they are black.

“They don’t have access to girlhood the same way white girls do,” McPherson told HuffPost Canada.

“They’re often treated in very harsh ways— in ways that we would never accept for other groups of children.”

It’s not just bias. It’s racism.

Black girls are often automatically seen as defiant, loud and aggressive, and are treated differently as a result, she said. And the idea that they are more resilient means they get less support. At least in terms of her own research, McPherson wouldn’t just call this a bias. …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada

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